Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Electric Future: Battery production facilities bloom on both sides of the Atlantic

Battery production plants are popping up and blooming on both sides of the Atlantic, with one or two exceptions, such as BritishVolt, which went into administration recently

Viridi Parente, a developer of battery storage technology, has selected Bright Machines to digitally transform the company’s US electric battery manufacturing facility.

Bright Machines Microfactories, the company’s full-stack assembly automation solution, modernizes manufacturing by leveraging data and artificial intelligence, providing Viridi with new capabilities to meet the increasing demands for its zero-carbon emission energy battery solutions.

Viridi manufactures battery energy storage systems on a 42-acre campus in Buffalo, New York. Its efforts have and will continue to lead to significant job creation in the historically disadvantaged East Buffalo community where its facility is situated.

In addition to its considerable capital investment in its facilities and technology, Viridi is positioned for greater growth as an employer of choice, helping to drive the revitalization of Buffalo.

Viridi is the sponsoring employer of the GreenForce, a community-based nonprofit organization that recruits unemployed and underemployed candidates and provides them with the necessary training and support to obtain, and maintain, advanced manufacturing positions.

Bright Machines will be integral in assembling Viridi’s stationary lithium-ion battery pack system modules, designed and tested to be fail-safe for installation in commercial, industrial, and residential spaces.

Companies like Viridi and Bright Machines are the driving forces behind the US regaining its status as a global manufacturing leader.

Bright Machines will help Viridi automate the assembly of its clean, sustainable power sources, replacing century-old, distributed energy platforms, such as fossil fuel, lead-acid batteries, and other outdated technologies.

Viridi will also introduce greater sustainability practices using Bright Machines’ intelligent automation solution, which assesses production areas to identify the best material needs to reduce defect rates.

Additionally, because its facility is close to the end consumer, Viridi will be able to reduce overproduction and instead produce-to-order based on local market demand. The result is less landfill and an overall reduction in Viridi’s carbon footprint.

Jon Williams, CEO of Viridi, says: “Viridi is dedicated to creating the next generation of energy systems, serving the accelerating demand for non-fossil fuel-dependent equipment.

“Sustainable production has never been more important for our customers or us; Bright Machines will make hitting our assembly and environmental goals possible at scale, while helping support our efforts to manufacture products responsibly.”

Localizing the production of critical battery components is the only way to drive down costs, emissions, and geopolitical risks while meeting US battery and electrification demand.

Bright Machines’ intelligent assembly automation supports rapid product evolution in a cost-efficient manner, while shortening time to market. The shift towards closer-to-home production creates US-based jobs and helps companies advance sustainability efforts with local and regional supply chains.

Gayle Sheppard, co-CEO of Bright Machines, says: “We’re excited to collaborate with a disruptive energy company like Viridi, which is committed to driving efficient, sustainable production for their products.

“Bright Machines is helping transform one of the world’s largest industries by enabling manufacturers like Viridi to localize operations, which is both economically and environmentally advantageous.

“Enabling the transformation of how and where people make products is core to our mission. We’re proud to partner with Viridi to help achieve its production goals in the US and deliver on its promises to customers.”

King Willem-Alexander opens new ELEO battery facility

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands performed the opening ceremony for ELEO’s new battery facility. In front of more than 250 guests at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, the Netherlands, the King used an electric excavator to unveil the first battery module produced by the plant.

Since its founding in 2017, ELEO’s focus has been developing and manufacturing high-quality battery systems for a wide range of applications – from construction and agricultural machinery to commercial vehicles.

Bas Verkaik, co-founder of ELEO, says: “The opening of our factory is a special moment for the entire team, so we are very proud that His Majesty King Willem-Alexander performed the official opening of our new facilities.

“With this factory we can significantly increase our capacity to meet the growing demand for our battery systems. More than this, our factory serves as a blueprint for further international expansion in the coming years.”

After the official opening King Willem-Alexander was guided around the factory to learn about the battery system production process, as well as speak with employees about their work at ELEO.

Equipped with cutting-edge machinery enabling a fully-automated battery assembly process, the new state-of-the-art battery production plant covers an area of 3,000 sq m with further plans to triple the facility’s floor space to 9,000 sq m.

The opening of the new facility aligns with the beginning of production for ELEO’s new generation of battery systems. This new generation offers industrial OEMs ultimate flexibility, with a scalable approach devised to meet the wide variety of requirements of off-highway applications.

Since the Yanmar Group acquired the majority share of ELEO in April 2022, they have been working together to achieve the goal of global electrification within the Industrial sector. The opening of the new battery factory is a huge step towards this goal, allowing for a projected annual production capacity of 10,000 battery packs.

With this production plant, ELEO is accelerating the world towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Leave a Reply